Mother & Nature – Launching an Outdoor Clothing Business

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?

My name is Samantha Jenkins and I am a Mummy to Harry, my 5 year old son. We live together in our house on the outskirts of Chorley in Lancashire.

What’s your business called?

My business is called Mother & Nature.

Can you describe it in one sentence?

It is a range of outdoor maternity wear you can wear during and after pregnancy.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I became a Mumpreneur I suppose when I started working on Mother & Nature and idea of a range of outdoor maternity wear for the active mum-to-be, but I think I only really felt like a Mumpreneur when my business loan got approved by Virgin Start-up.

How did you fund your start up?

I got a loan from Virgin Start-up and also put some of my own money towards it.

How do you manage working around your children?

It is very difficult, especially being a single mum and the fact that I still have my day job and work as a marketing manager 4 days a week spread over 5 to cover the school run! Sometimes I think I’ve taken too much on, but thankfully I have great parents who’ve retired and they pick up Harry a couple of nights a week from school and take him for tea, or to his swimming lesson, he also goes to his Dad’s 2 nights a week. So its basically anytime I get a bit of free time, after work, when Harry has gone to bed, and Sunday when he’s at his Dad’s. I don’t think I’ve ever been this busy in my entire life!!!

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?

Each morning I check my emails to see if theres anything I need to respond to straight away, or any orders that have come through over night. Then I get myself ready for work and my son ready for school and off we go. I arrive home about 3.30 if I don’t have to to the school run, package any orders that need to go, off to the post office, then home to start on the emails, update social media, send or chase up PR or reviews I’ve been working on, send marketing emails to my customer base for any events I might be attending or promotions that might be running. My Mum will usually drop Harry home about 6, then shortly after that the bed time routine starts. Once he’s asleep about 8ish, I’ll carry on for another hour or so before I hit the hay!

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?

The main problem I have faced is getting the name out there in front of customers. As a marketing manager I just thought if I do loads of marketing everyone will hear about the range and be excited about it as I am and the orders will come flowing in. The reality isn’t quite like that. People need to see a new brand a few times before they start to respond to the marketing, and all the marketing costs a lot of money. So now I am just starting to do everything as cost effectively as possible. I do a lot of social media, and am looking to do some of the smaller regional shows to get the product out in front of potential customers. I recently did the Keswick Mountain Festival, which was great in terms of getting the brand out in front of people and just letting people know about the range, and I did get a few sales off the back of the show.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

I think it will be being my own boss, having the flexibility to take time out for school holidays, and just the feeling of achievement, having followed my dreams and made it work!

What are your plans for the future?

Going forward I would like to expand the range I have, I have a lot of ideas my new outdoor maternity wear items I would like to produce. I would also like to start getting the range into some of the smaller independent outdoor shops and also maternity wear retailers.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?

Research, research, research. Know the market you’re going into, know your competition inside out and go into everything with your eyes wide open.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

Being a Mumpreneur is really hard work, and a juggling act most of the time, so make sure you have the support there before you start. There will be massive up’s and massive down’s, so be prepared for a roller-coaster ride, but try and enjoy it along the way. If you feel passionately enough about what you’re planning to do, and you can convey that, they others will buy into it too.

Twitter – @motherandnature

Facebook /motherandnature.outdoormaternitywear

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